Melinda Miller (Collins)

Melinda Miller Collins who died on November 6, 2017, in Redwood City, was once described in a review of her art exhibit in Hong Kong as a person who has "an eye for beauty that stems from a deep love of life and a joy in living." Although the critic wrote these words 41 years ago, the description held. Melinda's art always expressed this vision.

Melinda was born in Nashville, Tennessee on July 9, 1947, the oldest of 4 children. At age 12 her father, who worked with the Foreign Service, announced that the family was moving abroad. Over the next 8 years, Melinda and her family lived in New Delhi, Istanbul, and Bangkok. She graduated from high school in Ankara, Turkey and moved back to the U.S. to attend American University in Washington, D.C.


After two years of college she moved to Key West and the art world began to notice. Her calendars of pen and ink sketches of life in Key West (and later, in Hong Kong) became collectors' items. Her art was showcased in exhibits and galleries in Miami, Key West, Washington, D.C. and Hong Kong (where she moved after Key West).

In 1978 she moved to San Francisco and met her husband, Carroll J. Collins III, while going home from work on the No.8 bus. He struck up a conversation and went past his stop so he could spend more time with her. Nine months later they were married.

Initially they lived in San Francisco where their two sons, Peter and David, were born. In 1983 they moved to Redwood City to the house where Carroll grew up where they had their third son, Paul.

In 1990, Melinda went back to school to study Interior Design at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and was valedictorian at graduation. Her instructors were so impressed with her work they invited her to stay and teach. In later years she also taught design courses at U.C. Santa Cruz, Cañada and West Valley Colleges.

She created book and magazine illustrations, designed china patterns for Cordon Blue International, created fabric designs, advised clients as a colorist and practiced Interior Design, but mainly she painted. She painted portraits (her hand drawn Christmas cards of her growing children were treasured by recipients), landscapes, and scenery from trips in England, France and Italy. Her choice of medium evolved. She started with pen and ink, moved to water color, then oil, then acrylic. In later years she created collages and jewelry. Galleries in San Francisco, the Peninsula, Pacific Grove and Carmel have exhibited her work as well as online at

Melinda stated that "Art has been my sustaining interest and identity but my family has made my life complete." Her family feels the same about her. She is survived by her husband Carroll J. Collins III, sons Peter, David and Paul (Monica) her grandson Jackson, her brothers Larry (Gayle) and Kurt Miller, her sister Melissa Miller and many friends who miss her dearly.

Her memorial service is at 10:00 AM on Friday, November 17 in Redwood City at Mt. Carmel Church – the church where Carroll and Melinda were married 38 years ago. In lieu of flowers, her family suggests donations in her name to the George Mark Children's House either online at or at 2121 George Mark Lane, San Leandro, CA 94578.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Nov. 12, 2017

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